Melia is a star for Glanmire on and off the court as she leads her team to the National Cup final

Melia is playing with the Cork side for the first time this season but had a difficult start when her mother passed away last year.
Melia is a star for Glanmire on and off the court as she leads her team to the National Cup final

Claire Melia feels pain against Brunell for The Address UCC Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins

THE smile on the face of Claire Melia told the story after helping The Address UCC Glanmire see off rivals Singleton's SuperValu Brunell in a pulsating Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup semi-final at the Neptune Stadium.

Melia is playing with the Cork side for the first time this season but had a difficult start when her mother passed away last year.

“The one plus is that I know my mother is always with me on court and that’s a very special feeling that gives me comfort.” 

The Irish international has been outstanding all campaign, collecting three Player of the Month awards, but on Friday night she only had two points registered going into the final quarter.

“I never worry when I am not scoring as we had brilliant performances from Aine McKenna, Casey Grace, Amy Furlong, Miriam Loughery and Carrie Shepherd.

“I would like to think I did other good things on court and in the last quarter I came up with a few baskets that helped us get over the line.” 

On the eve of the game, her sister had a baby boy and she was looking forward to meeting her nephew back in Monasterevin.

 Player Casey Grace with her two nieces after the win for The Address UCC Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins 
Player Casey Grace with her two nieces after the win for The Address UCC Glanmire. Picture: Larry Cummins 

“It’s been a great couple of days and I am delighted for helping this fabulous group of players reach a cup final and now its case of getting the job done as we have two weeks of hard graft ahead of us.” 

Mark Scannell is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport and picked up the Coach of the Month for December.

“I never doubt the work ethic of my team as they are a great group. With the problems we had coming into the game with Covid and lack of preparation this was always going to be a tough test."
Glanmire began their campaign with Gigi Smith and Taylor Claggert but both have since departed back to the States. They then signed Carrie Shepherd and Jarlyn Duran but the latter didn’t settle and after playing in one game headed home.

Glanmire's Irish players really stood up to be counted on the big stage last weekend.

“Again Aine McKenna and Casey Grace showed her class when we were struggling for baskets.

“Although Claire Melia wasn’t scoring she controlled the game and in end came up with 11 points when we needed them in the last quarter.

“Carrie Shepherd is an outstanding professional and now we must take a deep breath and get ready for a crucial game on Wednesday at Waterford Wildcats.”

The club, hoping for a first National Cup since the four-in-a-row success of 2017, have added another American ahead of the final.

 The Address UCC Glanmire head coach Mark Scannell during a time-out. Picture: Larry Cummins.
The Address UCC Glanmire head coach Mark Scannell during a time-out. Picture: Larry Cummins.

“We have signed Tierney Pfirman who has played in Germany and I am hopeful she will make a big impression in this league.

“There was a lot of pressure going into this semi-final for both clubs to be fair and we will now concentrate on getting ourselves ready for the final on Sunday week.”

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